For para-cyclist Ross Wilson, it’s all about the preparation.
Wilson, competing in his second Paralympics, is making his debut Tuesday in Tokyo. His first contest will be the C1 men’s road time trial.
During his first Paralympics in 2016, Wilson claimed the silver for Canada in the event. Finishing nearly one second behind the German Michael Teuber, he eked out second place by only five-tenths of a second.
“Winning a race really comes six to nine months in advance,” Wilson told Accessible Media Inc. “It’s all the prep work and careful planning … if you live and work to your plan it really gives you the best chance.”
The Sherwood Park, Alta. native is a chartered accountant and only began cycling 10 years ago after he lost over 100 pounds and wanted to ensure he kept the weight off.
“I always thought road cycling was kind of interesting, but being 300 pounds, I always thought I would look horrible in spandex,” Wilson joked to Accessible Media Inc. “Now I weigh about 160 … so I bought a second-hand road bike, kind of got started and fell in love.”
The 39-year-old has come a long way from amateur cyclist to racing against Michael Teuber tonight in a repeat of the 2016 Rio C1 time trial finals.
At the end of 2020, Wilson and Canadian para-cycling legend Tristen Chernove raised money for the Paralympic Foundation of Canada by vEveresting (a type of stationary bike). The pair, using the app Zwift, virtually ascended to the height of Mount Everest to the cheers of supporters on the Discord app.
“In the summer we saw there were so many people who were fans of what Tristen did,” Wilson said to the Canadian Paralympic Committee. “Developing awareness around Para sport in Canada, one of those key things is getting the chance to interact with the athletes and understand what it’s like.”